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Baby ejected from car, several hurt in Polk crash

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Published:   |   Updated: April 23, 2013 at 05:14 PM

A 3-year-old child was ejected from a car and several people were hurt in a multivehicle crash near Garner Elementary School in Winter Haven this morning.

About 7:45 a.m. today, Keri Radnor, 27, of Winter Haven was driving a Chevrolet Cobalt on Boys Club Road after leaving Garner Elementary. Radnor entered the eastbound lanes of Havendale Boulevard, but pulled into the path of a Ford Expedition, driven by Beverly Marieta, 49, of Winter Haven, according to police.

The Expedition hit the driver's side of the Cobalt, causing the car to spin and end up in the westbound lanes of Havendale, police said.

Marieta and her front-seat passenger, Roseta Johnson, 63, were both treated and released at Winter Haven Hospital. Their third passenger, Tevin Nicholas, 20, was not hurt.

Three-year-old Mekhi Brown was ejected from the Cobalt and landed in the westbound lane still strapped inside of his car seat, police said. An infant, 1-month-old Imani Brown, was tossed around inside the car, but remained strapped in a child carrier.

Polk Deputy Debra Martin, who was off duty, saw the crash and stopped traffic after spotting the car seat in the road, police said. Cheryl Kelley of Winter Haven, a Bond Clinic nurse, also stopped to render aid.

Martin went to the Cobalt and found Imani in the back seat, unresponsive. Radnor had suffered severe injuries but was responsive, police said. Martin pulled Imani from the vehicle and began administering CPR.

Auburndale Police Officer John Lynn and Polk Deputy Ben Kirkpatrick also stopped to assist. Kirkpatrick deployed his Automated External Defibrillator while Martin continued to assist with the unresponsive child.

Imani regained a faint pulse, and both Imani and Mekhi were airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando in critical condition. This afternoon, Imani is in critical condition and Mekhi is in stable condition.

Radnor was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center as a trauma alert. She is in serious condition.

Police said neither of the child safety seats was properly buckled into the vehicle.

All lanes of Havendale Boulevard were shut down from 21st Street to 26th Street for about four hours, police said. All lanes of the road reopened about 11:45 a.m.

The investigation is continuing.

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